16 februarie 2009

Are funny ads worth the money? What makes ads memorable, and why


Sent to you by Hank Morhan via Google Reader:


via Cognitive Daily on 1/7/09

ResearchBlogging.orgEvery year about this time, we start thinking about an exciting television event: the Super Bowl. I'm excited because it's the biggest football game of the year. The rest of the family just likes to watch the commercials. No doubt, some of those commercials are hilarious, and there's often more conversation about the commercials than the game itself. Companies spend millions buying advertising time, and millions more developing commercials that will stand out from the pack on Super Bowl Sunday. Other than watching your favorite team lose, there's nothing more disappointing than seeing an old commercial during the game.

But don't you sometimes wonder whether advertisers actually get their money's worth? Do people really remember the product being advertised? Or do they just remember that guy getting hit in the crotch repeatedly with dense, spherical objects?

Surprisingly, there actually hasn't been much research on the effectiveness of humor in ads. Instead, most research has focused on expectancy: if something in an ad is unexpected, it's more likely to be remembered than something we expect. Even more importantly for advertisers, the unexpected event in the ad must be directly related to their product. Here's an ad that does a pretty good job of that:

In this ad, the unexpected event is the unveiling of the product itself. But many advertisers don't offer quite such a direct connection between the humor and the product being advertised:

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